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242RE: [findingfaith] On finding like minded Xtians: to Stephen Shields

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  • Stephen Shields
    Feb 9, 2002
      Jim Barnhill wrote:

      ...Hence, this major dilemma. Neo's conjecturing with Dan about how one
      might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like a
      pipe dream. Or is it? If we are truly living at the very beginning
      of a new postmodern era, then 99.9% of churches would seem to be
      still living with modern thinking. So it seems to me that apart from
      a website like this, there are not very many places a spiritual
      schizophrenic like me can go for nurture. Going to a small group
      within an evangelical church feels like going to an intellectual
      torture session. All of the thinking I've tried to rework comes
      rushing back to the door and it hurts. I don't think I can
      adequately defend my own paradigm shift without being so frustrated.
      The upshot: it feels pretty lonely to be a postmodern Christian both
      because it is hard to define to yourself and others exactly what you
      believe, and because there are so few places/churches to go that can

      I've gone through this for over 15 years. I'm a patient person.
      Reply whenever you get the chance.


      I'm glad you're patient, Jim, 'cause it might take a few years for these
      kinds of churches to become common! I'm looking forward to what others will
      post but let me put a few thoughts out there.

      First is that there are a few online communities that are grappling with
      these issues. This is one. Another is a group in the process of discussing
      McLaren's New Kind of Christian. See


      and I moderate a group that discusses these issues @


      and I'm quite certain there are others I'm not even aware of.

      Second, I believe it's important to realize that postmodernity's main
      contribution - and some here may disagree with me - is that it deconstructs
      the modernity in Christianity and helps us to open our eyes to something
      deeper. But (and I write with broadbrush here!) the core Christian truths,
      and - more specifically - *reality* transcends *both* the stifling locked
      down, anthropocentric closed system Cartesian epistemology of modernity with
      its emphasis on certainty and steps to achievement, etc *and* the forever
      tentative, ever inchoate approach of postmodernity. Example: Thousands
      and thousands, if not millions, of people who could not begin to define many
      of the words I just used or have never heard of the authors you just named -
      people who couldn't begin to differentiate modernity and postmodernity -
      cause God hugh broad smiles every single day. Find *those* folks! People
      who are real to themselves, real to one another, *open* to being taught by
      God and others! Your knowledge of postmodernism and modernism will aid you
      to *frame* your experience of these people. But that paradigm should never
      be confused with the actual, what we on faithmaps like to call the
      transpropositional **stuff** of real, exciting, dynamic, excruciating,
      challenging, *relationships* with God and with one another! And - if I
      might be so bold - it's these relationships that are most important, even
      when we struggle to attach specifics words to them.

      Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but also a plethora of off-tap

      Hope this helps!

      Stephen Shields
      "tools for navigating theology,
      leadership, discipleship and
      church life in postmodernity"
      over 500 links and articles

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